Showing posts from July 9, 2015

Data point to poorer global middle class

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[Worth posting simply because our politicians keep denying it. "The global middle class is both smaller and poorer than previously thought, according to a new study, with hundreds of millions who have recently emerged from poverty in developing countries still vulnerable to falling back into it." *RON*]

Shawn Donnan and Sam Fleming, Financial Post, 8 July 2015

Dick Cheney Should Be Prosecuted for War Crimes: Former International Court of Justice Judge

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[Renowned human rights expert Thomas Buergenthal said Cheney and a number of CIA agents 'should appear before the ICC.' *RON*]

Sarah LazareCommon Dreams, 8 July 2015

A former judge for the International Court of Justice and renowned expert on human rights law told a reporter this week that former vice president Dick Cheney should be prosecuted for war crimes and torture.

Eighty-one-year-old Thomas Buergenthal told Newsweek journalist Robert Chalmers that "some of us have long thought that Cheney, and a number of CIA agents who did what they did in those so-called black holes [overseas torture centers] should appear before the ICC [International Criminal Court]."

"We [in the USA] could have tried them ourselves," added Buergenthal. "I voted for Obama but I think he made a great mistake when he decided not to instigate legal proceedings against some of these people."

The former judge added that, despite the inac…

Alberta oil and gas millions fuel BC Liberal machine

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["If this were anywhere else other than B.C., it would be a gratuitous conflict of interest — you cannot receive millions of dollars and then be perceived to be impartial." Andrew Weaver, Green Party MLA. The best government money can buy. As Premier Christy Clark recalls the B.C. legislature to expedite a controversial LNG project, a Vancouver Observer special investigation reveals that the BC Liberal Party has received millions from Alberta-based oil and gas companies over the last 10 years, significantly more than the industry’s donations to the Alberta PCs. *RON*]

Elizabeth McSheffrey, Vancouver Observer, 8 July 2015

In October 2012, Premier Christy Clark famously attended a BC Liberal Party fundraising dinner at the Calgary Petroleum Club hosted by Murray Edwards, the chair of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL). While many believed the premier’s Alberta financial overture was the first of its kind, investigation reveals that th…

City of Vancouver to become a 'living wage employer'

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[They're calling it a 'symbolic' victory for all. But most of the people it will be applied to probably make at least that already. Oh well, better that someone is promoting the idea than otherwise. And, once again, we see that municipalities are taking the lead on social policies that are being steadfastly ignored at the provincial and federal levels. Also, before you start reading the inevitable Fraser Institute rebuttals, see The Minimum Wage: Myths & FactsAs cities raise their minimum wage, where's the economic collapse the right predicted?Does raising the minimum wage = job losses?A Minimum-Wage Hike Could Help Employers, Too*RON*]

Elizabeth McSheffrey, Vancouver Observer, 8 July 2015

Mary Lynn Diana moved to Vancouver from the Philippines as a live-in caregiver 15 years ago. She had a six-year-old son, no financial support from the boy’s father, and a very difficult time making ends meet.

Over the years, she wo…

Child care for $10 a day feasible in Canada

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[BC can afford $10/day child care. In fact it would largely pay for itself through parent fees and increased tax revenues from more women returning to work. The economy would also benefit from employment and GDP boosts. *RON*]

By Tara Carman, Vancouver Sun, 9 July 2015

Introducing universal $10-a-day child care would grow the province's economy by $3.9 billion and generate $1.3 billion in government revenue once fully phased in, according to a report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Implementing the plan - which advocates say would create enough child care spaces for all families who need it, as well as improve affordability and the quality of early childhood education in B.C. - would cost $1.5 billion over 10 years, researchers at the University of B.C.'s Human Early Learning Partnership have estimated.

However, Victoria and Ottawa could expect to recover 86 cents on every dollar invested if both levels of gov…

Permits to Start Construction on Site C Dam Issued Despite Pending Lawsuits

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[If I did something the government thought was illegal, and they took me to court, they would surely find a way to slap a cease and desist order on my activities in the meanwhile. One wonders how this is even legal. *RON*]

By Emma Gilchrist, DeSmog Blog Canada, 8 July 2015

Authorizations allowing construction to begin immediately on the Site C dam on the Peace River in northeastern B.C. were issued on Tuesday by B.C.’s Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations — despite a pending legal challenge by the Treaty 8 First Nations.

This Saturday, hundreds of people in canoes and kayaks will paddle down the Peace River to protest the imminent construction of the dam and flooding of the river.

The $8.8 billion Site C dam — the most expensive public project in B.C. history — was approved by the B.C. government in December. If built, the dam will flood more than 100 kilometres of the Peace River and its tributaries, drowning agricultural …

Trump Tower Was Built on Undocumented Immigrants’ Backs

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["I can make mistakes." Donald Trump. Increasingly, human jokes, truly horrible human beings, believe they are fit to rule the world's most powerful democracy. See also Donald Trump's xenophobiaDonald Trump Has Nowhere to Go but DownTrump denies RNC chief chastised himVicente Fox: Donald Trump es us Idiota!, and, nota bene, Donald Trump surges to first place in North Carolina. *RON*]
Michael Daly, The Daily Beast, 8 July 2015
The Donald may denounce illegal immigrants as ‘rapists,’ but his empire’s crown jewel was erected on land cleared by a small army of undocumented Polish workers, a lawsuit alleged.

The use of undocumented workers on a Trump construction site such as the hotel described by The Washington Post this week is certainly nothing new.

Thirty-five years ago, a small army of illegal immigrants was used to clear the site for what became the crown jewel of Donald Trump’s empire.

The 200 demolition workers—nicknamed …

‘Get with it’ on climate change: Federal politicians take beating at climate summit as premiers call for action

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[There's already a hatchet-piece on Brown in the Toronto Sun, e.g., They say Brown "has often been the focus of criticism himself" and compile of list of contentious things Brown has said since 1976. Note that the National Post refers to statements by Brown such as "let’s work together and make a world that really will work for all of us" as "bombastic terms." *RON*]
Ashley Csanady, National Post, 8 July 2015
Federal leaders across North America need to “get with it” and tackle climate change from the top.

That was the message from California Governor Jerry Brown, Quebec Premier Phillipe Couillard and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on Wednesday at the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto. The event, which includes representatives from across the continent but none from the federal government, is being framed as a precursor to the UN-led climate summit in Paris this December.

Brown leads California at a time wh…

Russia Created a “Flag for Straights” to Fight “Gay Fever”

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[The United Russia Party is Putin's party. The flag depicts a man and a woman holding hands with three children, and under the image is the hashtag #realfamily in Russian. *RON*]

Tessa Berenson, Time, 9 July 2015

To oppose “gay fever,” Russia’s ruling party has created what they’re calling a “flag for straights.”

The flag, which was made by the United Russia party, was unveiled in Moscow Wednesday, Russia Today reports. The flag depicts a man and a woman holding hands with three children, and under the image is the hashtag #realfamily in Russian.

Aleksey Lisovenko, deputy head of United Russia’s Moscow organization, said the flag was created to counter the popular LGBTQ rainbow flag. “This is our answer to same sex marriages, this mockery of the very concept of family,” he said to Russian newspaper Izvestia, according to Russia Today. “We must prevent gay fever in our country and support traditional values.”

Opponents of the flag have already…

Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, email says – but it funded deniers for 27 more years

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[Just like the tobacco companies. They knew, they lied, so we're going to fry. A newly unearthed missive from Lenny Bernstein, a climate expert with the oil firm for 30 years, shows concerns over high presence of carbon dioxide in enormous gas field in south-east Asia factored into decision not to tap it as far back as 1981. Via my friend Harry. *RON*]

Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 8 July 2015 ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, knew as early as 1981 of climate change – seven years before it became a public issue, according to a newly discovered email from one of the firm’s own scientists. Despite this the firm spent millions over the next 27 years to promote climate denial.

The email from Exxon’s in-house climate expert provides evidence the company was aware of the connection between fossil fuels and climate change, and the potential for carbon-cutting regulations that could hurt its bottom line, over a generation ago – factori…